ODOT Accused Of Violating Contractors Civil Rights

Friday, May 4th 2007, 9:00 pm

By: News On 6

A Muskogee road contractor says the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has violated his civil rights. George Paul Glover has filed a federal lawsuit against ODOT. The News On 6 first told you Thursday night that ODOT has been trying to ban Glover from state projects, because it says he has a history of contract disputes and did substandard work. But in a News On 6 investigation, anchor Terry Hood reports Glover says the department is retaliating against him for making it play by its own rules.

"Mr. Glover builds good roads," said Glover's Attorney Richard O'Carroll.

George Paul Glover's attorney says the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has it backwards. He says ODOT is the one trying to cut corners by kicking his client out of the bidding process without following its own rules.

A stretch of road on U.S. Highway 64 in Warner is where the feud between the Department of Transportation and Glover began. No one disputes that the road started falling apart in 2001, while it was still being built, but ODOT blames Glover saying he used substandard gravel from his own quarry to make the asphalt, and it accuses Glover's crews of being sloppy when they put that asphalt down.

Glover says ODOT's own design was the real problem.

"Paul asked them to change it. He offered to do it for free, essentially," said O'Carroll.

Instead of accepting, O’Carroll says the state retaliated. A multi-county grand jury indicted Glover last year for conspiring to defraud the state, and for intimidating a witness. Glover pleaded no contest to both charges, but his attorney says you shouldn't read too much into that.

"This is a business decision. He has to make a calculation of how much he's going to pay to defend himself, what he's going to risk, and it didn't impact his personal life in any way shape or form," O'Carroll said.

But now Glover is fighting back. His attorney says he filed the civil rights lawsuit because he says ODOT is violating its own rules.

"Mr. Glover asked for a change order on Highway 64. He asked to solve the problem, he anticipated the problem, ODOT got egg on its face, they tried to blame him, when he held his ground he got prosecuted. When he still held his ground, then they tried to take his livelihood away," said O'Carroll.

Glover's argument convinced a Muskogee judge to order ODOT to let Glover keep bidding on state projects. The same judge charged the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with contempt, for not actually accepting Glover's bids. But Glover's attorney says there's more to this case than ODOT will admit.

"We're real concerned about the fact that he's subject to an IRS audit. We're real concerned about the fact that his hotel records are being subpoenaed. We're real concerned that people are suggesting that his home be subject to a search warrant without probable cause," O'Carroll said.

It may take years for the civil rights lawsuit to work its way through the courts. In the meantime, Glover is asking ODOT to pay him more than $3 million for fixing the problem with U.S. Highway 64. It appears the courts will also have to decide which side to believe in that dispute.

Watch the video: Contractor Sues ODOT

To read Thursday's story "News On 6 Investigates: Highway Dollars", click here and to watch the video, click here.

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